Surgical Management of Esophageal Epiphrenic Diverticula: A Transthoracic Approach Over Four Decades

Luis F Tapias, Christopher R Morse, Douglas J Mathisen, Henning A Gaissert, Cameron D Wright, James S Allan, Michael Lanuti
Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2017, 104 (4): 1123-1130

BACKGROUND: Epiphrenic esophageal diverticula are infrequent. Although surgical treatment is generally recommended, technique varies widely and optimal management remains controversial. This study evaluated a single-institution experience for surgical treatment of epiphrenic diverticula.

METHODS: A retrospective review was made of medical records of 31 patients undergoing surgical treatment for epiphrenic diverticula from 1974 to 2016.

RESULTS: There were 17 men (55%); median age was 65 years. Dysphagia (87%) and regurgitation (71%) were the most common symptoms. Three patients (10%) presented acutely: 2 with ruptured diverticula and 1 with hematemesis. All patients underwent an open transthoracic approach. Diverticulectomy was performed in 28 patients (90%), myotomy in 28 (90%), and a concomitant antireflux procedure in 6 (19%). A total of 22 patients (71%) underwent diverticulectomy and myotomy, 4 (13%) underwent diverticulectomy with myotomy and antireflux procedure, 2 (6%) had myotomy and antireflux, 2 had diverticulectomy alone, and 1 patient had imbrication of the diverticulum after myotomy. Overall, morbidity occurred in 11 patients (35.5%), with major morbidity in 6 (19.4%). There was one postoperative esophageal leak (3%). Ninety-day mortality was zero. Mean follow-up was 30 ± 43 months in 28 patients. Additional procedures (ie, reoperation, balloon dilation) were needed in 7 patients (25%). An excellent outcome (ie, absence of symptoms) was accomplished in 21 patients (75%). Acute presentation was associated with need for further procedures (p = 0.011) and symptoms at follow-up (p = 0.011).

CONCLUSIONS: A tailored transthoracic approach to the surgical management of epiphrenic diverticula can provide excellent results. The need for a concomitant antireflux procedure remains controversial and may not be routinely necessary. Acute presentation is associated with poor functional outcome.

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